Sailing News

BoatU.S. Acquires DIY Boat Owner Marine Maintenance Magazine

One of the leading authorities on recreational boat maintenance and repair for the past 12 years, DIY Boat Owner Marine Maintenance magazine, has agreed to be acquired by Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.), the nation's largest organization of recreational boaters. The acquisition also includes the magazine's comprehensive Web site,, which includes hundreds of articles, repair tips and an index to past issues.

"Since over 70% of the recreational boats bought and sold each year are used, this represents a significant opportunity for BoatU.S. to provide boat owners - both power and sail - with credible information that they can count on and trust," says BoatU.S. Magazine Editor and Associate Publisher Michael Sciulla, who will take on the role of DIY publisher. BoatU.S. Magazine Managing Editor Elaine Dickinson, will become executive editor.

The pair, who have been producing BoatU.S. Magazine, the nation's largest circulation boating publication for over 20 years, will be joined by DIY Boat Owner magazine's founders Jan Mundy and Steve Kalman who will continue as editor and associate publisher, respectively.

"Steve and I are very excited knowing that our 'baby' will be in the hands of a noted consumer-oriented organization like BoatU.S. and that we will be on board to help it grow and attain a much larger readership than it has today," said Mundy.

"We are absolutely delighted to be joining forces with DIY founders Jan Mundy and Steve Kalman who have created a publishing institution in the marine maintenance field," said Sciulla. "Our job will be to bring this wealth of 'hands-on' knowledge to thousands of boaters and the more than 665,000 BoatU.S. members who could benefit from such information."

In addition to BoatU.S. Magazine, the Association also publishes BoatU.S. Trailering magazine for trailer boat owners and Seaworthy, the association's damage avoidance news journal.

Kite Tube Recalled After Two Deaths, Several Dozen Injuries

In an effort to reduce the chance of any additional incidents and injuries in the midst of the busy boating season, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is alerting boaters about an important “water toy” recall by the manufacturer.

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Sportsstuff, Inc., of Omaha, Nebraska, is voluntarily recalling about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes. Reportedly, the CPSC has received reports of 39 injury incidents, with 29 of those resulting in the need for medical treatment. Those injuries included a broken neck, a punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries.

Sportsstuff has received reports of two deaths in the United States and reports of a variety of serious injuries. The company has been unable to determine the cause of the incidents. Nevertheless, the company has withdrawn the kite tube from the market, and is undertaking this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.

The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes. The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement “Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall.”

The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005 to July 11, 2006 for about $500 to $600.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the kite tubes, and contact Sportsstuff at (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday, to learn how to obtain free replacement products. Consumers can also visit the firm’s Web site at for more information.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary reminds boaters to always use caution when playing with water toys. Precautions include making sure all riders/skiers/wake-boarders wear a life jacket, and that an observer keeps an eye on the occupants of the water toy at all times.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, volunteer Component of Team Coast Guard.

NPS Seeks Input on Future of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The National Park Service has released a 23-page document outlining the major management issues facing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and initial options to address those issues. The public is being asked to provide comments on the issues and options by September 25, 2006. After that date, the planning team will carefully consider the information received as it begins working on a new general management plan and wilderness management plan for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

“The general management plan that we develop over the next couple of years will set the direction for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for the next 15 to 20 years,” said park superintendent Bob Krumenaker. “There are critical issues and the park’s funding outlook is uncertain. We’ll need to set priorities for the future. Help us do that.”

Copies of the document, titled “Options for Future Management,” can be obtained on the Internet at A limited number of copies are also available at the park’s visitor centers in Bayfield, Little Sand Bay, or Stockton Island.

NPS staff will be hosting a series of open houses in local and regional communities to provide the public with opportunities to learn more about the planning process, ask questions, and provide input. Comments will also be accepted by regular mail and email.

The major issues that have been identified so far include: the future of the lightstations; the future of life estates and expired use and occupancy properties; appropriate management of the non-wilderness portions of the park; appropriate management of the wilderness area; appropriate management of the mainland unit; the future of the mainland NPS visitor centers; and the future of the NPS operational and administrative facilities on the mainland. The Options for Future Management document provides detailed information about each of these issues.

“We would appreciate any help we can get in spreading the word about this planning effort. We want to make certain that anyone with an interest in this wonderful place will have an opportunity to share their vision with us.”

Questions about the planning process and the Options For Future Management document may be directed to Chief of Planning and Resource Management Jim Nepstad at 715-779-33398, extension 102, or at


For the fourth year in a row, BoatU.S. Magazine has received an Apex Award, this time in the contest's Editorials and Advocacy Writing category for its editorial column, Behind the Buoy, written by editor Michael Sciulla.

The winning column, in the September 2005 issue of the magazine (, was a hard-hitting editorial taking on Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) for introducing legislation that would prohibit the National Weather Service from providing anything but severe weather forecasts to the public. Santorum's bill would have required the National Weather Service to turn its data over to the private sector, which then would have been free to repackage it and sell it to the public.

"The nation's 14 million recreational boat owners rely on accurate and up-to-the minute weather forecasts for their safety and prudent boaters always check weather forecasts before venturing out," said Sciulla. "In the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that have pummeled our coasts in recent years, this legislation is particularly inappropriate," he added.

Now in its 18th year, the Apex Awards are based on excellence in editorial content, graphic design, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. Nearly 5,000 entries were received by the judges.
"Being recognized in the 'Editorials and Advocacy Writing' is especially gratifying because so much of the mission of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) is to represent not only the interests of our 660,000 members, but the larger boating community as well" said Sciulla, who has been editor of the association's flagship publication since 1980.

Hunter Marine Receives National Water Safety Award

Hunter Marine, one of the world’s largest sailboat manufacturers, was awarded a special commendation by the National Water Safety Congress for its initiatives of voluntarily placing carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in the cabins of all its keel boats.

“Putting carbon monoxide detectors in its boats has helped alert and educate the consumer to the danger and risks of carbon monoxide, and we are recognizing Hunter’s efforts to promote safety,” said Cecelia Duer, executive director for the National Water Safety Congress (NWSC).

Hunter Marine has made CO detectors standard equipment for the past five years in its boats 25’ and larger. “Carbon monoxide detectors are a part of our comprehensive effort to provide as much safety equipment as possible on all of our boats,” said Eric Macklin, market development manager for Hunter Marine, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. “We appreciate the recognition of our efforts to make boating safer for everyone.”

Since 2003 when the US Coast Guard began tracking CO as a cause of injury, 58 people have been injured and 10 people have been killed on boats by CO poisoning. It is speculated that many accidents and deaths before then may have actually been caused by CO, but previous were not accurately attributed because of a lack of knowledge regarding the dangers of the odorless and tasteless gas.

“It’s a huge problem, but we’ve come a long way in a short time,” said Duer, citing educational programs by the U.S. Coast Guard and outstanding industry initiatives like that of Hunter Marine.

“Our high safety standards reflect genuine concern for our customers’ safety,” said John Peterson, director of sales and marketing for Hunter Marine. “But safety equipment alone is not the final answer for boating safety. The marine industry still needs to support ongoing operator education.”

The National Water Safety Congress is dedicated to promoting water safety in the United States of America. A non-profit organization established in 1951, the National Water Safety Congress membership includes water safety specialists from international, federal, state, and local governments, as well as other private and public water-oriented organizations.

The Road to the 2008 Olympics

Margaret Bonds Podlich, Vice President of Government Affairs for BoatU.S., has made the 2006 U.S. Sailing team along with skipper Carol Cronin and fellow crewmember Kim Couranz. From now thru January 2008 the trio will compete against three other American teams vying for the one Yngling class spot on the U.S. Olympic team. (There are nine classes of sailing vessels in the games).

Bonds Podlich was also formerly Director of the BoatU.S. Foundation's clean water programs for 11 years before joining the association's Government Affairs team in September 2005. A life-long competitive sailboat racer, Bonds Podlich was a nationally ranked collegiate sailor at Tulane University and has competed in five Rolex Women's International Keelboat Regattas and three BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup competitions. She accepted an invitation to join the Cronin team earlier this year in its quest to reach sailing's pinnacle, the U.S. Olympic team, which will be announced by the U.S. Olympic Committee in January 2008. Being named to the U.S. Sailing team is the first step towards that goal.

Most recently the team competed at the Yngling Women's World Championship in France and captured seventh place out of 35 teams. It was only the second regatta in which the ladies had sailed together - while most other teams had been training for a year or more.

"I am very honored that Carol asked me join her team and hope we'll go far as a team," said Podlich. "I am getting incredible support from home, work, family and friends. I am still pinching myself to make sure this is real - it's not often an opportunity like this comes around. The three of us are having so much fun sailing together that we keep asking ourselves what took us so long to get us all on the same boat."

While Cronin helms the 21-foot keelboat, Bonds Podlich holds the foredeck position handling jib duties and helps with tactics. Couranz, who also has sailed with Bonds Podlich for over 15 years, is the boat's "trimmer," trying to get every last bit of power out of the rig and spinnaker.

In August, the ladies will travel to the Olympic sailing site in Qingdao, China to compete in the Olympic test event that will follow the games' ten-race protocol that is capped by a final medal race.

Bonds Podlich and her husband Steve, daughter Sophie (age 10) and son Ben (age 6) reside in Annapolis, MD. For more information or for sponsorship opportunities, go to